Emperor Preserve

In the Name of the Emperor at the O.K. Corral
Acolytes: "Put down your weapons, we have you surrounded!"

At the end of our last missive the Acolyte rescuers had all but arrived in the Southwest corner The refectory 2of The Refectory. Our bloodthirsty young assassin Arion, stuck at the rear bravely carrying the prisoner they’d sprung, Rogue Trader Zeities Dyreson, finally made it into the temporary safety of the clearing.

Most of the Acolytes rushed to the wall. Warden Julo Bendegar grabbed warp-wielding Lexxicon who, using her power, levitated them to the top of the wall, which Warden Julo Bendegar crawled onto. Julo took laser fire from down the street outside, which missed, and in turn laid down some fire at a small handful of bad guys advancing on them from a roof.


[Intios: After our battle within our makeshift headquarters, we rushed out to meet the others as they were running towards to opposite wall. It seemed like the goal was to scale the same wall that the others just repelled from. I made it through the opening and saw our assassin, Arion, carrying the body of the rogue trader trailing behind us. We all rushed to the wall and turned around to provide cover for Arion’s retreat. I noticed that Warden Julo Bendegar grabbed a hold of Lexxicon and proceeded to levitate up the wall. With Julo safely perched upon the wall, Lexxicon floated down to the ground.

I threw my rope over the wall but realized that we did not have a grappling hook for this particular coil. As Arion was approaching us, we came under fire from the clansmen that started to pour in through the opening between buildings. I saw Lydia Ya and Crucius Magnus grab hold of Lexxicon as she attempted to float up to the wall. Lexxicon immediately came under heavy fire as she tried to float up the wall. At the same time, Warden Julo Bendegar was taking fire from the ground level outside the wall as well as a few clansmen who took positions on the rooftop in the building next to us. The heat of battle must have disturbed Lexxicon’s concentration because she floated down with both Lydia and Crucius clutching her.

Arion made it to the wall and dropped . He then threw his rope over the wall and made sure that the grappling hook was secure on the other end. I decided to try for the high ground in order to provide better covering fire. With all of the gear on my back, attempting to scale the wall proved difficult. When I finally started climbing, a grenade went off a couple of meters from me. I felt a sharp pain in my lower body and could not help but lose grip of the rope. I was face down on the ground next to the adjacent wall. I must have been blown two meters off of the rope. From my vantage point, I could see that the grenades were coming from the clansmen on the roof. I started to run towards their building’s roof so that they would not have line of sight on me. As I was running, a grenade went off right next to me. By the grace of the emperor, I was able to dive out of the blast of the grenade.

The grenade blast must have been substantial because my last recollection of Lydia Ya was seeing her face down on the dirt. My team must have taken care of the clansmen on the roof because Lexxicon motioned to me to grab onto her so that she can levitate me up to the rooftop. As I jumped onto the roof, I see three down clansmen. I start to reload my hand cannon but I have an eerie feeling that we are not out of this yet.]

Enemy started pouring into the clearing through the opening all the Acolytes had dashed through moments before. A massive gunfight ensued leaving the autogun-wielding Lydia Ya taking a dirt-nap, as well as a pile of dead foes.

[Lydia: From my corner vantage point, I was able to scatter the Emperor’s enemies that were chasing our group. Arion made it through the opening while still carrying the rogue trader over his shoulder. I made a run for the back wall that we just scaled over. I saw Lexxicon and Warden Julo Bendegar make their way up the 5 meter wall surrounding this complex. As they floated up, I laid some cover fire towards two new enemies pouring in through the opening. I saw Lexxicon float down on her own. Crucius Magnus and I immediately grabbed onto her so that we could be levitated up as well.

It seemed a floating target with two bodies hanging on was quite the target for our enemies. Lexxicon came under heavy fire and was forced back to the ground. As we landed, I took up a spot by the wall in order to get a better firing position. I was able to return the heavy fire with fire of my own. I then heard a grenade go off to my right and noticed that Intios was blown off of his rope that he was climbing.

At this time, our group heard a message through our personal vox communicators. Someone was asking if we have located the head official of Port Suffering. From our data, it would have been the local leader of the Sisters of Battle here on site. All I heard was a team member saying, “Engaging hostile ground forces. Taking heavy fire. Target not acquired.”

Crucius Magnus and I were able to take care of the enemies at they stepped through the opening. Between full auto burst to suppress the enemy and selected semi auto bursts, we were able to drop various enemies one at a time. Then at a most untimely moment, my auto gun malfunctions and stops firing. I began to relocate from my current position. Seconds later a grenade explodes directly to my right. All I felt was pain and then everything went black…]

Opponents on the roof began tossing grenades down on the clustered Inquisitorial warriors below, badly wounding Crucius Magnus and blowing Intios right off a rope he was climbing, heavily wounding him & knocking him unconscious.

From this mayhem Warden Warden Julo Bendegar, who had been trying to help Intios ascend, was knocked off the wall onto the street outside. There he was faced with multiple opponents, selling his life dearly but ultimately resulting in his charred corpse from multiple laser hits.

Eventually our intrepid defenders of the Golden Throne cleared the immediate area of most all foes.

Assassins Turned Rescuers
"I hope this guy's worth it"

When we’d left our intrepid Acolytes, they had bravely freed the badly injured Rogue Trader Zeities Dyreson from a truck directly in front of The Counting House. We pick up the action with them carrying his limp form back to their hideout in The Refectory.

Warden Julo Bendegar, of the Divisio Immoralis that had been working undercover in the Port, made contact & joined the Cell in The Refectory – having identified them as allies after witnessing them free Dyreson.

Four members of the Cell – Arion, Lydia Ya, Julo & Lexxicon – began an extensive recon over towards where Julo thought the vile invaders were holding prisoners. Crucius Magnus & Intios stayed behind at the hideout to look after Zeities Dyreson. All the Acolytes held their breath, however, when they heard a commotion towards The Counting House that they figured could only mean that the Rogue Trader’s escape had been discovered.

Their colleagues at the hideout soon reported that a group of foes had entered The Refectory, were going door-to-door and that it was only a matter of time before they arrived. The recon crew quickly raced back that direction & waited outside the wall of the Imperial-guest compound, to see what would happen but nearby if a battle ensued. Sure enough, a squad of men barreled into the hideout and quickly discovered the escaped prisoner.

Intios: Our guardsman, Crucius Magnus and I decided to stay behind at the Refectory as the rest of our team went out into Port Suffering to do more reconnaissance of the town. We had earlier rescued a prisoner and identified him as a Rogue Trader by the name Zeities Dyreson based on our pre-mission intelligence.

We started to hear rumblings within the Refectory, which must have meant that the local gang had discovered that their prisoner was missing from the back of their truck. I motioned to Crucius Magnus to hide Zeities Dyreson inside one of the kitchen cupboards. As we finished hiding a still unconscious Dyreson into the cupboard, we could hear commotion getting closer to our makeshift quarters. Crucius and I went back to the living area but decided to keep our weapons and armor hidden underneath a nearby desk.

Just moments later, two men of the local warlord clan burst into our quarters. The two were followed by a commander that they referred to as Lieutenant. Their Lt. saw me & Crucius Magnus and asked if it was only the two of us. The first two men went onto ransack our quarters looking for their escaped prisoner. One of the men went into the kitchen and discovered their lost prisoner. As that happened the Lt. told us to hit the ground and also called for reinforcements.

Seeing what the local warlord has done to his prisoners, we knew that being captured was not an option. Crucius Magnus and I both attempted flying leaps over the table which had our equipment. By the grace of the Emperor, I was able to make it behind the table and land into a crouching position. Crucius was not as lucky as he took a burst of fire from the Lt. I went for my weapons and pulled out my hand cannon as Crucius pulled out his Lasgun.

In the initial moments of combat, I squeezed off two unsuccessful shots from my hand cannon. By this time, more reinforcements had arrived and we were facing five clansmen. Crucius Magnus then changed tactics and pulled out his frag grenade. While it seemed like he was not successful in throwing the grenade exactly where he wanted, we could see the psychological effects of a grenade going off in close quarters. I too decided to pull a frag grenade from my stash.

My first throw during the heat of combat was also not as successful as I would have liked. By the grace of the Emperor, my second throw landed exactly where I wanted and was able to affect three of the clansmen, including their Lt., within the blast radius. With three down we thought the last two would go down fast as well. Crucius Magnus went searching for one clansman that went to hide near the bedrooms. As Crucius disposed of the clansman near the bedroom, I could see that the one who initially found Zeities Dyreson was still alive and hiding behind cover in the kitchen. I took a couple shots with my hand cannon but to no avail. Crucius then snuck up to the corner of the kitchen and dropped another well placed grenade to take care of the final clansman.

With all 5 clansmen taken care of, we decided to strap on all of our armor and proceed out of our quarters to meet up with the rest of the team.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Emperor’s defenders had cleared the wall, were inside the compound and were sprinting for the hideout – fearing the worst as they heard numerous explosions inside from the grenades. Somehow, though outnumbered, the faithless scum were dispatched inside the Acolytes’ hideout while the Emperor’s wall-scalers held off the hordes at The Refectory entrance.

The Cell quickly decided to commence their egress & made a break for the corner of the compound farthest from the entrance – Arion with Zeities Dyreson over his shoulder.

Lydia Ya: Our team outside of the Refectory was quickly called back because the local warlord had now discovered that their prisoner had gone missing. We scaled the wall opposite of our hideout so as to not attract attention. We all made it down the wall and proceeded towards the maintenance building, which was across from our hideout. We all heard multiple explosions coming from nearby the hideout. As I rounded the corner of the maintenance building, I was spotted by two of the warlord’s guards. Shots were fired toward me and I was hit in the body. I immediately dropped down and began counter fire with my autogun. As our battle began, I was able to hit two of the guards. But as the firefight was in progress in front of me, I started to hear what sounded like Las fire and a possible shotgun fire behind me.

That was when our new assassin, Arion, told the group that he was carrying Zeities Dyreson out of the hideout. To my surprise, both Crucius and Intios were running out of the hideout behind Arion. They were all heading toward the opposite wall in order to escape.

Our psyker, Lexxicon, saw the retreat and ran towards the back wall. I got up onto my feet and followed her lead. We were all in full sprints toward the back wall away from the entryway of the Refectory.

As I made it to the corner of a building covering the back wall, I could see that the entire group was not at the wall yet. Arion shouted into the bead-vox that they were still being fired upon from multiple sides. From my corner vantage point, we were out of sight from the men on the roof but I could still see guards rushing towards us. I opened up my autogun for a full automatic burst in an attempt to suppress the Emperor’s enemies. The initial group of about 3 men scattered and ran for cover. I had to reload my clip but soon thereafter, I could see another 4 or so men in pursuit. I then fired another full auto burst to suppress the enemy. While I could not tell if I hit anyone, they all scattered to find cover. By this point, all of our members and our rescued prisoner were near the wall. I certainly hope this Rogue Trader is worth all this trouble…

Iocanthos at Risk
The spice must flow

We when last left our intrepid Acolytes they were trying to evacuate the Cathedral of Stern Hope. Intios was dragging the limp form of the half-dead Lexxicon over the bodies of WarChief Kos’ke‘s men and out the huge front doors. Eugertes Doson was grasping the ankles of the equally comatose Lydia Ya with one hand and a rope that was secured to their truck with the other. Crucius Magnus, thinking all on the team were onboard the truck, floored it, pulling his two crew members out of the cathedral, down the steps and along the main road of Stern Hope. Eugertes soon lost his grip & Crucius soon discovered he’d left Intios & Lexxicon behind…but the team successfully made their escape.

Through what could only be called the sheer blessing of the Emperor, both Lexxicon & Lydia, despite being on the edge of death, survived their grievous wounds. Lydia survived being dragged at high speed down the stairs of the cathedral. They both survived a long two day car ride back to Port Suffering. The Cell finally made it back to the warm embraces of Scintilla, where Lexxicon & Lydia disappeared for emergency medical treatment and augmentation. The rest of the party went through an extensive debriefing & training in various skills and abilities.

Eugertes Doson was detained after suspicious information came to light that he suggested he was a member of the proscribed death cult The Astral Knives.

The Mechanicus augmented Lexxicon with mechanical respiratory system, several vat-grown organs & a metal spine. Lydia Ya was outfitted with a prosthetic arm. After they had recovered the Cell was brought together for a briefing by Scalprum Mazion, a Prime that answered to Interrogator Gaiseric.

Scalprum Mazion updated the characters that the Daemon they had failed to dispel back to the ether was now running rampant on Iocanthos and the planet was now at risk. Its Daemonhost was now Aristarchus the Seer & this unbound Daemonhost was now immensely powerful. It had gathered local forces & mounted a quick surprise attack on Port Suffering, felling it quickly. A counterattack force consisting of Imperial Guard, Adeptus Sororitas from the fort on the planet & Inquisitorial personnel was being assembled. The warp entity had left with quite a few of its forces as quickly as it came, however, leaving an opening for special operations.

The Acolyte cell was ordered to infiltrate the undermanned Port Suffering. Their orders were to 1) Kill whomever the Daemon left in charge 2) Find information on a list of individuals they were provided 3) provide reconnaissance of the Daemon’s remaining forces there. They were to rendezvous with another Acolyte already in the Port awaiting their arrival, Arion, an assassin who would assist with dispatching the enemy commander at the Port. A small team of Seraphim, jump-pack equipped Battle Sisters, would also be dispatched to rescue Adept-Interlocutor Sabetha Kosloff, the ranking Imperial Adept on the planet, as soon as they had any idea of her status and whereabouts.

The Acolytes succeeded in obtaining entry to the Port, rendezvousing with Arion and set up in The Refectory, where they had stayed with Aristarchus. They found ingress into the Port and wandering around it significantly easier than they had anticipated. Tight control had not yet been established by the Daemon’s forces and the inhabitants of Port Suffering made it difficult for enemy forces to identify the Acolytes, even though the residents stayed mainly indoors at this point.

The Cell reconned around the Port trying to identify the leader & obtain information on any of those on the list in their orders. Crucius soon went back to their hideout to personally guard the rope the Cell had. They found quite a few on the list dead in various locations, including the ranking Arbitrator on Iocanthos & the Adeptus Sororitas Hospitaller that ran the infirmary.

They witnessed enemy forces torturing and interrogating quite a few individuals that were staked to the ground. Lexxicon tried to get the dozen or so forces away by planting ideas in various warrior’s minds that one of their number was the Daemon. This caused some chaos & eventually shots to be fired among them, but they did not flee like she’d hoped.

Eventually, Arion approached the Administratum building, spoke to the guards there and found out who was likely in charge – Warlord Cynewulf.

The Acolytes saw a truck pull up to The Counting House, the first vehicle they’d seen while there. After the occupants went into the building Lexxicon snuck into the back of the covered truck to discover Zeities Dyreson, the Rogue Trader on their list, practically unconscious & strapped to a board. She freed him and they carried him back to their hideout in The Refectory. In the process of carrying Dyreson from the truck into The Refectory, Intios noticed a two-man patrol about two hundred meters off walking in their direction.

Confronting Stern Hope's Evil
The Acolyte Cell learns its limitations

The boy that Eugertes Doson had told to keep him informed of anything out of the ordinary comes running over to where the Acolytes are talking with WarChief Kos’ke. The boy yells that something is happening at the front door of the cathedral & to come quick.

The Acolytes & Kos’ke arrive to see one of the wounded attackers lying bleeding on the ground. On one side are Prelate Orland Skae & the Acolytes’ Prime Aristarchus and on the other are the DeathSinger Esha RaineDeathSinger Esha Raine & Kos’ke’s men. As they walk up the Abbot is saying that nothing has changed & the consecration must go on. The DeathSinger replies that this wounded man seems unaware of where he is, who he’s just fought & is muttering the name of unclean spirits – how can the Abbot not see that something is very wrong? With that, Aristarchus steps over and executes the wounded attacker with his laspistol & screams, “Heretic!” at him. He then accuses Raine in a threatening manner of impeding the consecration and tension spikes. Raine declares that she sees now that “the crow is sitting whispering on the shoulder” of Aristarchus & Skae, that she’ll be no part of what they’re doing and is never coming back. Lexxicon speaks briefly with Raine before she gallops off with Kos’ke and company.

The Acolytes are interested in speaking with her more & shortly get their wish. Lydia Ya & Crucius Magnus were looking to get into the cathedral when the door opened and a bloodied Abbott fell into the arms of his guards. Aristarchus arrives to hear Skae say he thought his attacker was the dark form of a woman and is clearly incensed by the holy man’s words. He orders the Acolytes to go to the DeathSinger’s steading, arrest her and bring her back to be questioned about the matter. He tells them if she resists to kill her and all with her.

The Acolytes take their off-road flatbed truck up into the hills with Intios narrowly avoiding trouble at the wheel as they fight a severe dust storm. They arrive at the side gorge, dismount and head to the clearly visible steading. They have no intention of arresting Raine. The Dustdogs alert Raine to their presence and she comes out of her dwelling. The Acolytes tell her they just want to talk, she agrees and invites them inside. Suddenly the sky darkens, the dust storm begins again in earnest, baleful unholy lights are visible and a dark maniacal laughter erupts from the skies. A large flock of shale crows attacks from the clouds. Raine, Kos’ke & Crucius dash inside the dwelling but some of the crows follow them in attacking. Eugertes is shocked from the obvious evil. The crows strike again and again at both those in the dwelling and those outside. Kos’ke’s men chop down quite a few of the birds in the exchange of metal blows and sharp tearing beaks. Lexxicon looks into the warp & changes to an appearance to give her opponents pause – however, in doing so she accidentally causes a thick storm of blood to rain down all around the steading. Soon everyone outside is drenched in the crimson liquid & Eugertes thinks he’s living a nightmare. The crows appear unaffected by Lexxicon’s appearance. The pitched battle continues and eventually the wings of the crows outside get drenched with the blood & do not fly as well. Eventually the flock is fought off.

DeathSinger Raine pulls an ancient book from hiding telling the Emperor’s servants it could have information that could help them. Her people record their history verbally but some is too dangerous to tell so maybe it could be in the book – though she herself cannot read it. The Acolytes are unable to read it, as well. Lexxicon asks if she can take the book & the DeathSinger relents as long as it is returned. The party discusses at length what to do. Some want to find Warlord Seth the Voicer to question him; they ask Kos’ke if he’ll lend them one of their men as a guide to find him. Kos’ke demurs saying Seth is an enemy and will attack them all on sight. Some of the Inquisitorial servants want to make the journey back to Port Suffering to find someone that can translate the book; but it’s decided they should return to the settlement to at least be there for the consecration, in case it still occurs. Crucius discusses possibly bringing the DeathSinger with them back to the settlement by force, since she won’t go voluntarily and all of Kos’ke’s men draw their weapons & take fighting stances. The Acolytes decide to depart at that point and head back to Stern Hope. Before they go, Raine tells them that it was always said that the only thing that this evil fears is the same agony it likes to inflict on others – to remember that.

The Acolytes decide not to contact anyone in the settlement on their vox-beads as they return. They notice fresh smoke plumes coming from the settlement as they descend from the hills. 1-2 hours later night is falling & as they’re approaching the gate they notice that no one is manning the gate or walls and the watchfires aren’t lit. There are notably few people visible walking around the camp. The makeshift gate that was put there after the gate was battered open in the attack is still in place & they move it aside and drive in. The settlers that they do see are in complete shock and are non-responsive to their questions. They come upon a score of settlers that committed suicide. They make their way to the Crying Clota finding it trashed. There are several dead bodies downstairs & their rooms have all been ransacked. Intios searches Aristarchus’ room and turns up his damaged but operating data-slate…but none of the Acolytes have the knowledge to get it working.

They go to the Priory to find Brother Severus and a few junior clerics killed at the foot of the stairs, with all of their eyes removed. Brother Lamark is hanging onto life halfway up the stairs & manages to say how he knew the Acolytes would not desert them. His last words was that they had to save his flock from “him” who was waiting to be free and to feed.

The Acolytes then notice an eerie glow coming from the cathedral. They enter it to find every member of the settlement in the pews, standing at attention, tears running down their faces & chanting words that are clearly not their own. Aristarchus the Seer is standing spread eagle in a pile of ghostfire flowers and some extremely bright objects, almost too bright to look at, rotating around his body. They proceed farther in, determine that Aristarchus is either casting a spell or is performing a ritual and must be killed. They determine to simultaneously shoot him – they all hit their target but all shots deflect off what appears to be a shield projected by the rotating objects. Lexxicon peers into the warp & uses it to inflict pain on Aristarchus, but there is no reaction.

At that point, the man who is clearly no longer Abbot Skae quickly runs up behind the altar and Aristarchus. “Skae’s” head is larger than it should be, the face is corrupted and the limbs move spasmodically & yet it have an unnatural quickness to them. It addresses them saying it was glad they could come, that there was a “miracle” underway. It says that is was so easy to blind these two men & was wondering in what way it would blind the rest of them.

At the point almost everyone in the party reacted to this most foul Daemonic presence that had manifested itself in Abbot Skae – only Lydia was unaffected. Above them were these wretched sounds of someone or something trying to get through – knocking and scratching coming from inside the dome above them portending pure evil. Intios was overcome with it and ran as fast as he could out the front doors of the cathedral. Crucius & Lexxicon backed away in mortal fear of this raw visage of warp vileness.

Lexxicon, shaken & too fearful to approach, worked her way around the right side but keeping her distance from whatever it was that was in the Abbot. The “Skae-Thing” raced forward around the altar and charged the Acolytes. Crucius fired a laser bolt from his lasgun directly into the chest of it, but still it came & the Acolytes enjoined it in combat. Crucius hurled a grenade at Aristarchus, but the concussion & shrapnel could be seen to be stopped by the afore seen supernatural shield.

Lexxicon reached into the warp & using its power manifested the infliction of pain in both the “Skae-Thing” & Aristarcus. When she looks into the warp, however, it sees her and looks back – suddenly in a large area around her gravity seems to reverse and she begins floating off the ground. About 20-30 of the settlers near her begin floating off the ground as well, though eerily, their chanting continued. The “Skae-Thing” floated up as well – all of them three meters off the ground. Several seconds later Lexxicon finds herself six meters off the ground and realizes she needs to control her ascent. She fires her AutoPistol trying to direct her body with the recoil – but controlling her facing is very difficult and she’s unable to move in the direction she wants. She tries grabbing the closest column but it’s too wide to get a grip onto. Still she and the rest continue to rise…5 meters, 10 meters, 15 meters…20 meters and she was then approaching the swirling writhing darkness in the dome.

In the meantime Intios was still outside near the Priory shell-shocked and unable to reenter the cathedral. A number of the other Acolytes were taking this opportunity to fire on the “Skae-Thing” that appeared unable to attack them in its current floating upwards state. They hit it a few times but could not ascertain the extent of its wounds. Eugertes Doson was certain that he’d shot it more than once & was ready to keep doing so when his hunting rifle misfired, fouling the last couple of rounds he had left for it. Lydia determined to toss a grenade up at it, trying to time the detonation of it with the height of the “Skae-Thing”. She miscalculated & the grenade exploded beneath it but still close enough that it appeared to be struck. Several settlers were hit by the blast in the head & collapsed. Lexxicon, from her high vantage point, notices that the swirling darkness in the dome moves to the sound of the ever present loud knocking and scratching that’s reverberated throughout the cathedral since they’ve been here. Something in the darkness was clearly trying to beat and claw it’s way to…Aristarchus! It was making its way to Aristarchus below!

Lexxicon disappeared into the thick darkness of the dome & became too disoriented to act. Intios snapped out of his shock & reentered the cathedral. Crucius dashed off for the party’s rope in the truck parked about 35 meters from the front of the cathedral. He gave it to Eugertes, who tried to take it to Lexxicon but, when Eugertes got close, started floating up himself. Ten seconds later gravity reverted to normal & everyone floating fell to Earth. By now, Eugertes was almost 20 feet off the ground but everyone else fell closer to 75 feet! The “Skae-Thing” landed with a thump on the stone floor & lay unmoving. All the settlers came down hard on the cathedral floor and died with a skeletal crack. Lexxicon plunged down and, only by the holy grace of the Emperor, landed directly on a pile of settlers that had landed before her. Thereby breaking her fall & saving her life. She was in terrible shape with egregious internal injuries…but she was alive. Intios dashed to her to drag her out. But the unholy nightmare renewed again as the “Skae-Thing” stumbled to its feet and charged another Acolyte. The Emperor’s warriors, having wounded it time and again – and seeing it fall from a terrific height – wondered what it would take to bring the vile thing down…or even if felling it was possible! Many of the Acolytes had suffered multiple blows from the warp spawn at this point and some were reeling. It was only by the Emperor’s will that a number of his warriors had not already expired from the mighty blows they’d taken. It had oversized fists and arms and took mighty swings with them with crushing force. It attacked with alarming speed despite the disjointed spasmodic movements of its limbs.

Eugertes ran to the altar deciding to see if he could have more luck with killing Aristarchus. Lydia ran behind the altar to see if Aristarchus was any more vulnerable from behind. Eugertes attempted to strike Aristarchus with melee weapons & his fists. His blows fell harmlessly on the invisible shield that he now could see was from brightly glowing tarot cards rotating around the body of Aristarchus. To Eugertes surprise, however, Aristarchus engaged him in conversation – addressing him by name and asking him how great was it that the Saint had returned? Lydia tried attacking Aristarchus from behind but to no avail, as it appeared the shield surrounded him. Eugertes continued speaking briefly to Aristarchus, trying to get him to stop what was happening. It appeared that Aristarchus was listening but would just repeat how wonderful it was that the saint was here & how helpful Abbot Skae had been.

Crucius was battling the “Skae-Thing” near the entrance of the cathedral & taking mighty blows. At that point, the DeathSinger Esha Raine, put in a surprising visit with several of Kos’ke’s men. She was obviously thunderstruck by what the saw and screamed to the Acolytes to remember that the only thing it feared was the agony it liked to inflict on others. Crucius quickly retreated and maneuvered behind Kos’ke’s men to get away from the “Skae-Thing”, leading it right to Kos’ke’s warriors, whom the “Skae-Thing” began felling quickly. The DeathSinger retreated out the door and stood by the Acolytes’ truck.

Most of this time Intios had been dragging Lexxicon around the cathedral, at first thinking to lay her near the wall but then deciding to risk dragging her to the front doors, where their enemy was. Intios carefully dragged Lexxicon over the prone bodies of Kos’ke’s men.

Crucius tied one end of the rope to the truck’s bumper outside and tossed the other end of the rope through the cathedral doorway. Lydia ran to grab that end but was fatefully set upon by the “Skae-Thing”. With a mighty swing of its unnaturally long strong arms it slammed her in the chest, hitting so hard as to knock all the air out of her lungs. Then with eerie speed it grabbed one of her arms with such force that it ripped it from her body. Lydia shuddered with the terrible shock to entire system, blood gushed out of her wound & she collapsed to the ground. It must’ve been that brief prayer to the Emperor before going unconscious because miraculously Eugertes found her alive. Outside, Crucius leaned out the truck window and looking backwards, on a hunch from the DeathSinger’s wail, tried to shoot at the eye of the Skae-Thing but missed.

While Crucius gunned the engine of the truck outside, Eugertes grabbed Lydia’s ankle and grabbed the end of the rope and braced himself. Crucius floored it and when the slack of the rope was gone it nearly jerked Eugertes shoulder out of his socket. By all accounts he let go of the rope…but only by the Emperor’s strength it turns out he somehow held on!

Intios & the unconscious and barely alive Lexxicon are on the entrance portico of the cathedral. Crucius is driving the truck, which is pulling Eugertes & the near-death and mercifully unconscious Lydia down the steps of the cathedral at breakneck speed.

The Investigation & Battle at Stern Hope
The corpses, like the crows, were all missing their eyes

Making their way into the foothills they saw a flare go up behind them. It had come from a large military-looking jeep with two symbols on the side; the one the Acolytes recognized being the Imperial Aquila. The Acolytes stopped and it was two Battle Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas looking for Phaedros. The Inquisition had contacted their fortress on Iocanthos, The Abbey of the Dawn, asking them to try and get a message to Acolyte Phaedros Drenn. The message was that his mother had gone mysteriously missing in the neighborhood in which she lived on Scintilla and that Drenn was to report back to Tricorn Palace immediately. The Battle Sisters offered to give him a lift back to Port Suffering & he departed the party.

Soon after arriving at Stern Hope the party was greeted by Brother Lamark. He apologized on behalf of Prelate Orland Skaethat the Abbot was not there to greet them himself & Lamark showed them where they were staying at the Crying Clota. Aristarchus unexpectedly retired early for the night instructing the Acolytes to mingle with the natives. They went about the camp & interviewed a number of settlers picking up some scattered information.

Their Prime Aristarchus called a meeting in his room in the morning to discuss what the Acolytes might have learned the night before & to formulate a plan for their investigation with the limited time they had.

They interviewed Prelate Orland Skae. He introduced them to his two “right-hand men”, Brother Lamark & Brother Severus. The Abbott briefly touched upon his personal background. He emphasized to the players how much work the people of the settlement had put into this settlement & the cathedral itself – and especially stressed to them how he was unwilling to let any prevent the consecration of the cathedral to St. Drusus. He asked and demanded that they get to the bottom of what was going on & gave them a run down of the odd occurrences that had plagued the community the last few months. He offered them Brother Lamark to help them that day with whatever they might need. Aristarchus excused himself yet again, his mental acuity seemed to be continuing to deteriorate.

Speaking of odd occurrences, that very afternoon a Stern Hope settler, using an axe, butchered a woman for no apparent reason in her tent. The Acolytes’ interrogation only got out of him, “I could not kill her” before in front of their very eyes, he bled from all cranial orifices, his jaw broke & his neck fatally snapped. They noted Shale Crows watching nearby & Eugertes killed a few until the crows settled father away.

Eugertes inspected the integrity of the wall while Lexxicon interviewed some herders in the “Warrior’s Camp”, the area of Stern Hope where passers-by stayed. Crucius Magnus & Intios sought out information at the bar in the Crying Clota, but didn’t have a lot of luck.

Brother Lamark led them to an area above the settlement where strange laughter was heard, baleful lights were seen & bodies had been found. There they were stalked & attacked by a local beast that Brother Lamark subsequently told them was known as a Hexalid. The large six-legged hog-like beast’s ambush was thwarted by the party’s alertness but it injured an Acolyte before they dispatched it. Upon examination, they found that the beast showed obvious signs of having been dead for days, being covered in suppurating wounds & it’s eyes notably missing. They discovered the dead bodies that had been reported to be there and witnessed a Shale Crow crawling out of one of the bodies; again, all of their eyes had been removed. There also they found the wreck of a car that possibly had belonged to the corpses; they searched it but found nothing. Lexxicon headed off into the thick forest near those bodies & found another corpse – one that apparently had lived long enough to crawl some distance before perishing.

The day of consecration for Saint Drusus’ Cathedral finally arrived the next day with settlement folk dressed in what passed for their finery & what passed for local dignitaries arrived from nearby areas. That included the Warchief of this region, WarChief Kos’ke and a local Wisewoman, Esha Raine whose tribal title was “DeathSinger”. The entire settlement & all dignitaries were in attendance with the Acolytes given a place of honor as Abbott Skae began a rousing pre-consecration Plainsong ceremony sermon.

In the middle of the Abbott’s sermon a loud crash was heard as a truck smashed open the settlement gate and Stern Hope was attacked by disheveled looking warriors with yellow ribbons tied somewhere on their body. The Acolytes, from the cathedral’s hill, witnessed multiple packs of attackers advancing on different parts of the settlement. The Emperor’s holy servants split up, with Lydia running around to the back of the cathedral to the right. Eugertes did the same but to the left. Intios ran to the vantage point & cover of the Priory. Crucius & Lexxicon remained on the hill on the entry portico of the cathedral.

These last two focused on the pack of the Emperor’s enemies that were dashing straight up the main straight at them and the cathedral, seeing that one of their foul number looked to be carrying a sizable bomb. Crucius dropped this sapper at 75 meters with the first semi-auto burst from his lasgun and the bomb dropped to the ground where the sapper fell. Lexxicon & Crucius continued to exchange fire with these charging warriors dropping more as they progressed. Then the Sanctioned Psyker dipped her mind into the chaos of the Warp willing her appearance to change into one that might strike fear into even the most hearty. The steeled Imperial Guardsman Acolyte next to her was startled by her Warp induced manifestation…but held strong. However, one of their approaching foes was not as dauntless and fled screaming back out the settlement’s main gate. Crucius continued to exchange gunfire dropping a shotgun-toting invader at twenty paces. The last enemy warrior with cleaver raised over head raced up the hill & took a mighty chop down on Lexxicon. However, Lexxicon once again tapped the ethereal corruption of the Warp to make her physical location ambiguous and as a result her enemies’ cleaver found only air. Confused at Lexxicon’s sudden disappearance, he had no such problems finding Crucius nearby and charged, swinging & striking Crucius in the mid-section. Lexxicon & Crucius surrounded & dispatched this last foe hand-to-hand.

Lydia made the long run to the back of the settlement to find that the loud commotion there was from the wild frenzy of the Dustdogs, who were reacting to the attack. She continued her way all the way around the cathedral to the supply/workshop/storage/generator buildings on the other side, which she found fully ablaze.

Eugertes & Intios, down the hills & off to the front/left of the cathedral entrance, engaged the enemy firebomb crew whose target were those supply/storage/generator buildings. Intios laid down fire from the corner of the Priory and Eugertes soon found himself chasing them from behind when he set out to go around the cathedral to the left. One of the firebombers stopped his dash, having neared the buildings upon which he planned to hurl his payload. This allowed Eugertes to finally close within fighting distance & so he yelled a taunt at his prey, letting him know he was being pursued by Acolytes of the Emperor. This heathen, as a result, turned & hurled his firebomb at Eugertes, missing long causing the bloom of hot burning liquid to splash inches short of the assassin’s heels. The concentrated fire from Intios & Eugertes then put down this faithless fire-hurling foe. Another member of this firebombing crew standing near but just beyond the first opened fire with a full-auto burst from his AutoPistol, catching the Emperor’s assassin full in the chest, leaving him teetering from the blast and desperately seeking cover though finding none. Fortunately, Intios promptly laid this blasphemer low with a shot from his Stub Revolver before he could spray another broadside in Eugertes’ direction. They both then turned their attention to the only obvious enemy activity in sight across the main road & near the settlement wall opposite of where they now were.

Lydia went around the outside of the blazing inferno of these buildings, clearing them just in time to see the small assassin take multiple rounds in the chest & then watch Intios dispatch Eugertes’ attacker with critical timeliness. She therefore continued her sprint around towards the main road looking for targets.

It was at just this time that these three Imperial stalwarts noticed a lone yellow-ribboned invader come running through the gate & start up the main road. However, no sooner had they recognized this fresh target but the already lit fuse reached its destination on the waylaid cathedral bomb. This large improvised device exploded, rattling the teeth of all in the area & shattering every bone in this lone invaders body, hurling him in an instant back out the front gate that he had just entered.

The last invaders were slayed by the town’s militia that had finally egressed the cathedral & equipped themselves in enough numbers to fully engage the enemy.

The Acolytes helped fight off the desperate suicidal raid & prevented the cathedral from being damaged, managing to defeat a sapper team tasked to the bombing of it. However, there’ll be no victory celebration. Substantial amounts of the settlement went up in flames & casualties were tragically high, including quite a few of the settlement’s children hacked to pieces not far inside the main gate.

As the smoke rose from the various fires around the settlement and the stench of burnt flesh permeated everyone’s nose, WarChief Kos’ke clearly vexed, asked the Acolytes what possible reason Seth the Voice had for such a suicidal attack. Eugertes Doson responded that Warlord Seth had likely been confused & unnaturally prompted by the same evil that the Acolytes had been sent to investigate.

Gorgonid Mines Reopened
Nothing 10-20 grenades couldn't handle

The group eventually defeated the two mutants from the initial encounter.

Checked the hallway to discover eight tanks of industrial manufacturing fluid, later identified as explosive material for mining. One of the tanks had a crack and was leaking fluid.

There was one mutant hiding behind the tank. Mutant was defeated by group.

The opposite room from the tanks had a scene of carnage with body parts and ripped uniforms

Further explored the cave and ran into two mutants crouching behind a large rock.

The group threw one grenade into the room and destroyed both mutants with one blast.

We discovered a hole large enough to walk through in the back of the cave. The group threw one grenade down the hole as a precaution.

Group decides to rest for six hours. As players rested, the psyker Lexxicon performed healing onto necessary part members.

Group went back to the hole and discovered one single mutant that came through the hole.

Fear checks for all party members. All party members were stricken with fear to different degrees. Intios ran in fear for two full turns and Phaedros vomited at the site of the mutant and his swarming flies, which had humanoid faces on them.

Defeated the mutant/daemon by using a grenade that Lexiconn threw. Lexxicon also suffered a bit of grenade spread damage.

Eugertes walks down the hole on his own and discovers a large room with one dead mutant and another mutant with a fly swarm around it.

Eugertes makes a shoot with hunting rifle and scores a hit. Fly mutant charges Eugertes and tries a bite attack.

Eugertes and Crucius first engage mutant. The entire group goes down the hole during the first turn.

Second fly mutant appears from an opening at the far end of the large room. The mutant charges and engages the group in melee combat.

Lexxicon and Crucius go to end of large room and discover a 3rd fly mutant.

Crucius runs to the end of the opening and discovers a man sized statue of a chalice with a bird on top. There appears to be blood along the chalice.

Fourth mutant appears out of thin air three meters in front of the chalice.

Group decides to run from the chalice and threw a grenade into the small alcove where the chalice is sitting. Chalice is destroyed by the grenade and all mutant activity stops.

Group is met by the Imperial guard within the mine. After a brief debrief the group finally makes it out of the Gorgonid mine.

From orders of Interrogator Gaiseric, the group must speak with Interrogator Sand. From orders of
Inquisitor Vaarak, group is to undertake new mission to Iocanthos.


Ship purser Sebek is liaison on the Brazen Sky. Sebek had goods to sell away from the eyes of other passengers.

Destination: Iocanthos. Landing into Port Suffering.

Smyk, who worked for the UnderCouncil at Port Suffering came to greet the group. Group dismissed him by stating we were on an official Inquisitor mission.

Encountered a group of seven young punks after an initial run-in with an old local. Group engaged in fist to fist melee combat and battle ended with the punks running off at the same time official local police showed up.

The entire group took time away from game to add up experience points and pick new skills. Each
member also restocked their inventory by bartering with locals in the Pitts.

Met with Diviner Aristarchus. Aristarchus gave brief background of the Stern Hope Cathedral.

Group must make it to Stern Hope before consecration.

Two day drive to Stern Hope.

Intruder at perimeter during night rest. Discovered a local who had already died days ago but still standing.

Group found a symbol of a falcon clasping a skull. Discovered this symbol is of St. Drusus.

The Summons
Your services are needed...the Emperor's enemies are legion


Well, there they were, all summoned to the Emperor’s service. You wonder sometimes if most citizens might not doubt the Holy Ordos even exists – and here they were going to work for it. Not that they applied for the job. The door to the cutter closed with finality and there they were.

Phaedros Drenn was very surprised to see that he recognized some faces & then started the introductions. Eugentes Doson & Crucius Magnus, it was years back now & the names meant nothing but he knew who they were. The albino Lexxicon he didn’t recognize – should he? Once pleasantries were finished he told them to get comfortable so he could tell them why they were there. That got their attention. He started from the beginning and carried the tale right through to that cutter door closing. The account lasted just long enough for the cutter door to be opened again, this time at a Scintilla planetary low orbiting station. The door was open just long enough for one man to enter, Gaiseric, the Interrogator for Inquisitor Globus Vaarak.

None of them really even knew the Inquisitor that had summoned them, Inquisitor Elena Vilhelmina Kholettis, much less the one they answered to now, Inquisitor Vaarak. It was all somewhat fantastic…and somewhat disconcerting since, after all, they hadn’t been given a choice. But to serve the Emperor was a privilege…and for the Inquisition…surreal.

Interrogator Gaiseric was a sizable man and stood straight as a ship’s plumb line. He gave the impression he was used to his orders being followed. Save for a small lapel pin, he wore unadorned carapace armour, smooth and formidable. It bulged somewhat at the back of his neck and shoulders, probably indicating the ability to extend over his head and be sealed. He walked in holding a shotgun and wore a bolter pistol at the hip. Slightly above and behind him hovered a Skull Servitor, apparently watching for what its master might miss. It seemed unlikely Interrogator Gaiseric knew what small talk was.

The Interrogator briefly explained that their team had been summoned by Inquisitor Kholettis and were therefore part of her group but, due to her current incapacitation, answered to Inquisitor Vaarak, just as he did. He alluded to a rather grim view of the sector’s status and that the Inquisition was stretched painfully thin in countering the Emperor’s legion of enemies in the region. Unsettling – wasn’t the Inquisition supposed to be all-powerful with the Emperor’s vast might at their call? Due to the veritable siege that the sector was under, Vaartak was in need of fresh feet for this investigation he was charged with. Kholettis had already assembled this group and he decided to trust her judgment. Gaiseric was point man for the investigation on Scintilla and in charge of this new team Vaarak was sending to Sepheris Secundus.

A key to the gates of Gorgonid Mine had been found around the neck of The Pale Throng cell’s head mutant and they were to look for a connection. However, their primary mission was to get the Gorgonid mine reopened. An uprising, not previously thought to be connected with The Pale Throng, had stopped production in the mine. Gaiseric stressed how Sepheris Secundus is economically critical to the sector and so a detachment of Imperial Guard were quickly sent to put down the rebels, which they made short work of. However, in pursuing the rebels deep into the mine the Emperor’s soldiers ran into warp spawn they suffered terrible casualties against. The Commissar of the force withdrew, sealed the mine & sent for the Inquisition.


They arrived in the Imperial Guard encampment. It looked fresh from battle. Many dead bodies dotted the landscape along with burned out vehicles and other wreckage of various kinds. The team noticed that most of the visible soldiers were looking at them, which continued throughout their stay. A young soldier, Jurtz ran up to them introducing himself and asking which one of them was the Inquisitor? The recruit’s commanding officer, Sargent Raynard, arrived reprimanding Jurtz and not hiding the fact the he wasn’t impressed with what the Inquisition had seen fit to send. He led the team to the Commissar’s office, a large red hab-block with the Aquila on the side.

Commissar Nihilius, in his late thirties with coal black hair/eyes and a craggy face, who appeared to be no-nonsense gave the team a briefing of what had transpired so far. The Guard had put down the uprising quickly & were ready to ship out. However, the Commissar discovered a sheaf of papers on one of the rebels that he deemed to contain proscribed text. This prompted him to have his troops go in to clear the mines in case many rebels had fled there. That went fine until his forces arrived deep in the mines known as The Shatters. There his squads, under the command of Sargent Raynard, suffered numerous casualties from what they described as “twisted mutants, daemons and worse”. The Commissar ordered his troops out, sealed the mine & sent for the Inquisition. The Commissar gave them a map of the mine that was marked to get them to the troubled area of The Shatters &, urging all possible speed, suggested he leave for the mine forthwith to start getting the large seal moved and meet the team there. The team at that point asked to see the proscribed texts and for some equipment. The Commissar assured them that he was the only one who had seen the papers, that he had securely locked them away & would bring the Acolytes to it. Lastly that his Quartermaster would have some equipment for them.

The Commissar took them out to a locked storage locker and gave them the box the text was in and left them ordering all troops to keep their distance. Doson kept his distance but the rest of the team opened the box and without touching it examined closely the sheet on top. None of the Acolytes had the knowledge to make sense of it…but that top page contained some very disconcerting drawings that seemed to be a warning for what was inside. Lexxicon through her powers ascertained that the document had a warp presence and was fairly strong. The team had the text locked back up without delving any further in it.

They obtained some equipment from the Quartermaster, including some Flak Cloaks, Laspistols, knives, cold weather gear, electric torches, rations & quite a bit of rope.

On the way out of camp they stopped by the prisoner containment area they’d noticed earlier. One claimed their innocence when they tried to speak to them. The Acolytes tried to parlay with him but to no avail.

The team arrived at the sealed mine entrance going through throngs of locals who were huddled around fires. The crowd had many deformities and were terrified of the Acolytes. Recruit Jurtz was there and asked the Acolytes if they could keep their eye open for his mate Hastus. The team was surprised to see that the seal was moved back and forth by large local beasts harnessed to the seal. The Commissar warned them not to be in a hurry to get out because it took about 30m to get the beasts harnessed up and the seal to be moved enough for them to egress. As the team prepared to proceed in the Commissar said he almost forgot, his forces were attacked repeatedly deep in the mine by flocks of strange crows – a bird that is not indigenous to the planet. Lexxicon exercised her Psyniscience while standing next to the Commissar & detected a faint taint of the warp in the area. The mine was opened enough…and the team went in.


Once inside Crucius donned his armour, which up until that time he had carried with him. The team noticed they were in a pretty big obviously machined space, with water running down the side of many of the tunnels proceeding outwards. They then noticed a pile of dead Imperial Guard in this area they were in and scavenged available equipment off of them.

Following the map the team headed down one of the tunnels for several hours. Eventually, down the tunnel quite a bit they could make out a mound of something with some movement on top. Eugentes used his hunting rifle’s scope to identify the mound as dead bodies and the movement was from strange crows. The team proceeded cautiously towards the bodies, watching to see what the birds would do. Crucius decided to follow 45 meters behind the rest of the team with his weapon ready. When the Acolytes got 65 meters from them the birds sat up and stared at them. When the group got to within 25 meters the birds flew off. They had been eating the mutant bodies. The party agreed that there was something odd about the crows; Doson having gotten a bit better look through the scope thought it perhaps their eyes. Crucius decided to continue to trail the rest of the party by 45 meters. He takes some of the rope the party has and uses it to tie his axe to his wrist.

The Acolytes found at one point that the shaft had, for reasons unknown, dropped down 10 meters. A number of the party were uncomfortable with what might have caused it. They would have to descend a nearly sheer surface to get down to where the passage continued. They tied one of their four 15-meter segments of rope to a beam and began to climb down one-by-one. Phaedros made it down fine and guarded the bottom. Eugentes, however, soon after getting on the rope lost his grip and, failing to recover, fell the 10 meters to the ground below suffering significant injuries. After that Crucius rejoined the group from behind. At that point, the group decided to tie the rope around the party member and lower them to the ground below. They did that until Crucius was the only one left above. He tied another rope to the same beam and tied it to himself for a safety harness. It turns out he needed it as he also lost his grip and was caught by the impromptu safety line. Taking his time he eventually made it down without harm.

Much farther down into the mine they came across a metal door with a wheel closing mechanism and a window covered in blood on the inside. It took the whole team to try and open it but finally Doson got the door unstuck. They found a slew of Imperial Guard who they figured had been badly wounded and locked themselves inside for protection from something but had then bled to death…there was blood everywhere. The Acolytes picked the equipment off of the the bled-out guardsmen bodies.


Finally the team arrived at a door blocking their way with the map indicating that this was the entrance to the deep area of the mine known as The Shatters. The door itself was scrawled with this in blood and the window covered with it from the inside. The door opened easily revealing to the Acolytes massive carnage just inside: dismembered bodies, organs and copious amounts of dried blood. The lighting appeared to be working but flickers with an eerie green glow creating a generally shadowy ambiance. There’s a number of passageways and a door visible from where they stand.

Phaedros & Eugentes proceeded down the closest passageway on the right, the rest of the party securing the hallway near the entry door they’d just come through. They first found a pile of human heads and Eugentes gleefully dug through them to see if there was anything underneath, but to no avail.

The two of them had failed to hear a hulking mutant making a dinner out of guardsman bodies in a cave next door. Hastus-turned-beast suddenly attacked Phaedros out of the darkness. This was a grisly jowly grotesque creature with 8 eyes pocking it’s “face”, over-sized fists and was wearing a tattered Guardsman uniform. Despite this desecration, both Acolytes stood firm under the mental assault of what they were seeing. The creature & Phaedros traded swings and then Phaedros attempted to make his way out of the passageway to hopefully bring the beast into the hallway. The mutant had other plans, though, turning instead to attack Doson, who was among the aforementioned pile of human heads. They traded several swings. Members of the group proceeded into the passageway and attacked the beast from behind while Eugentes dealt with it from the front…until finally it was dispatched. Doson was collecting all dogtags he could find and discovered that this was Hastus, Jurtz’ mate he had asked them to look for.

The swarthy newly minted protectors of the Emperor’s Kingdom proceeded down the main hallway to an opening on their left. Here they were taken by surprise by a pack of four mutated miners. These vile beings had heard the combat outside and so laid in ambush opening fire when the Acolytes showed themselves. Three of the mutants missed but the fourth fired a round from its Stub Revolver striking Phaedros. Phaedros responded by throwing a grenade down the short passage they were dug into. His toss was true with the fragmentary device landing right in their midst. The blast instantly released three of the mutants from the lives they no longer deserved, but the fourth was able to dive for cover down a side passage. The fourth returned to his corner to resume firing only to find another grenade bouncing off the wall of his passage, this time from Eugentes hand. Eugentes aim was off the mark, the grenade landing just far enough away from himself but with his target just in the range of its blast. The fourth was riddled with shrapnel & the Emperor’s will was done.

Just as this happened, back in the main hallway, Crucius’ attention was captured by what sounded like an enormous swarm of flies coming from the unexplored section of the hallway. In the next instant, the ex-Guardsman saw the outline of…a foul creature indeed, but not quite close enough to make out the details other than around its deformed head was a very large swarm of flies. Crucius quickly hurled a grenade its way, missing the mark but close enough to blow the vile form back…where it lay still. May the Emperor be praised.

Phaedros at this point is heavily wounded. Lexxicon offers her warp-based assistance to any who suffered injuries. She tries to settle her mind with her training and using the psy-focus issued to her but is unable to reach the state she seeks. Nonetheless she attempts to access the warp to knit Phaedros’ wounds but fails in her attempt, losing focus. Phaedros is disappointed by the result and urges her to continue the effort, if possible. Lexxicon explains the significant pain as well as risk of Phaedros’ flesh rebelling against the extended intrusion of warp energy. Phaedros, feeling the burden of being heavily wounded, accepts the risk and insists on another attempt. Lexxicon doubles her efforts and succeeds, dipping into the warp and knitting some of Phaedros’ wounds.

The Acolytes gathered the mutants stub revolvers and ammo. Then Crucius & Lexxicon guarded the main hallways, Intios stayed in the passage with the dead mutants while Phaedros and Doson explored deeper down that passageway. They came to the edge of the map that the Commissar had provided & decided to turn back.

Phaedros & Doson rejoined the group to decide where to head next in all the unexplored passageways. They cleared a number of short passages, keeping their head on a swivel. Crucius and Doson took point with Intios some meters behind them and the rest securing the rear. Checking one passage, Crucius disturbed a couple of hulking mutated vile abhorrences. The sight of these multi-eyed slobbering vaguely human vile warp spawn had Crucius frozen in terror. Seeing & hearing that Crucius had happened upon something, Doson sped the short distance to the front. Upon viewing these horrendous faithless monsters he faints dead away, hitting the ground with a thump. Phaedros focused on Crucius, who he was looking on from the back – not quite able to see into the passage that Crucius could. The creatures attacked but are not able to land a blow on the stunned Guardsman. Doson regains consciousnesses and, though still shaky, commences to attack. Phaedros soon after realizes that Crucius is in shock and, grabbing his shoulders, hauls him back from the front line. The grotesquely mutated guardsmen rumble out of their passage into the hallway engaging Intios & Lexxicon. Both Phaedros & Intios are badly startled laying eyes on the unnatural former humans and are temporarily shaken. Lexxicon is at the corner of a side passage when the beast engages her – them both having half their bodies in cover from the corner of the passage. They trade attacks unsuccessfully.

At this point Crucius has snapped out of his terrified stupor. Still somewhat shaky, the Guardsman steps into the tight melee combat and opens up with his lasgun. Unfortunately, in the close confines his laser shot strikes Lexxicon in the left leg instead, injuring her. All the while, she continues to trade attacks with the foul desecration of humanity. Intios has been doing the same with the hulking mutant that engaged him. Crucius switches targets and lets loose with his lasgun on Intios’ opponent. Unfortunately, his laser fire is off target again and strikes Intios in the back of the head, where thankfully enough is absorbed by the hood of his Flak Cloak that he is able to shrug it off.

Lexxicon now backs up into the passage she’s in letting loose volley after volley of laspistol fire. At one point, she focus’ her mind and reaches out to the warp to have it guide her aim. Her focus is true and the warp unnaturally guides her shot to its target. The laser shot lands, burning a wound in the mutant’s left leg. After trading several swings & the close call with the laser headshot, Intios retreats and Phaedros steps into the breach. The beast previously engaged with Lexxicon steps up now and engages Crucius. Phaedros’ trades multiple swings with his opponent and the mutant monster is able to power his large meat-hook through the Arbitrator’s defenses and lands a blow.

While this is going on Doson, from behind the creatures, has fired off a number of shots from his hunting rifle, scoring at least once. He decides to change tactics and attempts to get his comrades attention with hand signals and shouting in order to have them run from the creatures so he can engage them with grenades. Unfortunately, the side-by-side hulking beasts fill the hallway between Doson and the rest of the party. The non-existent sight lines, the attention absorbing melee combat and the volleys of laser fire ensure that the fog of war is thick and he’s unable to communicate his plan to the group….

Emperor Preserve!